Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Conundrum of Being a Small Business

When I was a child in the 60's, my mother was a renegade.  She started a small business to support us.  I learned many rules at her knee:
1) Always say "we" and appear successful.
2) Never talk about a downturn.  See #1.
3) Smile and apologize, no matter whose fault it is - and perhaps you can imagine how much more difficult that was for a woman at that time in history.

*Being* a small business is the only way you can describe it because the business is our reputation, our identity, and one of the kids.  One does not "own" a small business.  It owns us.

So while we may be very small cottage industries, it behooves us to present our businesses as spiffy, shiny, and big.  Sometimes people treat us big businesses.  This is the problem.

What am I getting at?
This morning I awoke to a charge back for a fraudulent sale - the second in 20 years.  In the rush of the Christmas Eve mailing, I somehow missed sending out an order for a single magazine. 
It was me.  I know that because it's always me.  I'm the shipping department, the purchasing department, accounts payable, accounts receivable, editor, schmoozer in chief, social media dept., and everything in between.

So yes.  It happened. (update - no, they got the order)
An order for $7.50 is charged back with an additional $15 fee.

NOTE: This has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Granted, it isn't the customer's job to check up on an order that doesn't arrive, but if you're reading this and you ever deal with ANY online business, please give them a chance to correct the situation before hitting the fraud alarm.  A simple email, maybe?

Had this customer contacted me, she would have gotten immediate service and most certainly there would have been a gift of some sort.  Almost every boxed order that leaves here has a little something special tucked into it, so we (see? can't help it) would have bent over backwards to make things right.

It's not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, I suppose.  The other charge back was 2 years ago.  Someone had purchased a PDF and forgot, didn't recognize the charge.  So even though my website could prove that they sent the file to the provided email address immediately, for some reason she got back her $5, and I got to pay the extra $15 fee.

Please give businesses a chance to explain.  Wouldn't you want that?  Wouldn't you do that if we were a brick and mortar shop?  Don't be quick to assume the worst of people.

UPDATE:  This was reported in error.  It won't matter.  So was the last one.  The credit card company never reverses their judgment.

1 comment:

Beth Owl's Daughter said...

Thank you for this important and timely reminder.

It is such a privilege to offer personalized service, isn't it? And I know sometimes people forget such a thing even exists, so again, thanks for this very diplomatic and thoughtful nudge. Beautifully said.